Thursday, January 15, 2009

China India

I do not envisage imminent China-India cooperation for two reasons. First, China’s ambitions will eventually run up against India’s own goal to be “hegemon in South Asia.” (Elkin, 463) China sees its relations to its neighbor defined by “whole-hearted submission to a ruler” achieved through diplomacy or force. (Zhang) Clearly, this is incompatible with India’s interests.

Secondly, India’s military increasingly chafes under civilian control and is asserting its own prerogatives. (Pai, “Overseas”) The Indian Army, more distrustful of Chinese intentions since both sides have been arrayed opposite each other for 60 years, is unlikely to acquiesce to civilian negotiated agreements.
It is much more likely that the US will align with India for the following reasons. 1) India and the US share the same enemies and competitors. China has not renounced its hegemonistic designs on the region, and the Taliban is moving towards control of nuclear Pakistan. China will not resist the lure of Siberia as Russia implodes. The Chinese Army on the move would be deeply disturbing to India and the US, driving those countries together. 2) India is a functioning democracy, and therefore a more natural friend to the US than Communist China.

Tellis points out that India has long sought, as part of its “non-aligned” movement, to develop its own weapons. This effort has faltered, and this failure represents a blow to Indian nationalism. The question will be whether India will address its technology gap by purchasing foreign arms or continue sinking money into failed indigenous technologies? Purchasing US arms would solidify the US relationship to effectively challenge China, yet hurt Indian pride, while continuing to go it alone will probably result in falling yet further behind China, to India’s political detriment.

Sources cited:

Elkin, Jerrod (1994) India. Defense policies of nations: A comparative study third edition edited by Douglas Murray et. al. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Pai, Nitin (2008) Overseas military deployments & defence decisionmaking: India needs to rethink its defence decisionmaking system. Week 6 Packet (12 November).

Zhang Quanyi (2009) Resolving China's border disputes. Global Survey (January 8) accessed 9 January 2009.